If you have found yourself bored with all the usual vacation choices such as Rome, the Bahamas, Paris, Canada, Mexico, Maldives, or wherever, consider the perfect vacation for new sights and excitement: Antarctica! And in recent history, a unexpectedly large number of people have started to discover the hidden charms of the cold and dark destination. Antarctica is a somewhat mythical place most of us only seem to read about in books and typically forget all about.

Getting there is a long journey, with many visitors departing from major hubs like New York. From there, they make their ways down to either Buenos Aires or the most southern of all cities -- Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Travelers take in two days of sight seeing and introduction, and then climb aboard an Argentine Navy vessel, led by an ice breaker and tug boat, and then enjoy a bold adventure, as they travel on through Drake Passage. The 600 miles between South America to Antarctica are some of the roughest waters in the world. This is known as the Drake Passage.

To give you an idea of how rough this sea can get, it was tradition that in days gone by, any sailor that survived trips into these waters were seated at a place of honor at the head of the table. This usually happened when the customary after-dinner port was served. Furthermore, if his travels had taken him as far as crossing the Antarctic Circle, then he was allowed to both of his feet up on the table! Sailors still hold onto this tradition.

Those who travel to Antarctica can actually feed penguins in the wild or carve their names into the icebergs. But a vacation to this destination is so much more! Those on the tour will be able to visit several U.S. and Argentine science stations. You?ll see actual scientists who are looking at glacial biology, marine life, meteorology and planet movement, among other items. It is not surprising that these crew members and scientists, have much knowledge to share, and are eager to share information and companionship with visitors.

As a tour member, you will also take part in a scientific study of your own. You can choose from a multitude of topics. Tourists can learn, with one study, that a cubic foot of Antarctic waters holds more living matter than water anywhere else in the world. Sleeping accommodations are provided on the ship, but tourists may travel by day, on boating trips, or into places that can be reached on foot. Wintertime in the US it is summer time in Antarctica, and vice versa depending on what travel season travelers choose. The summer temperature in Antarctica can reach thirty degrees above zero, but the wind still blows crisply across the ice. Snow pants, parkas and mittens are provided to tourists to help them stay warm.

You'll also be able to see sea leopards and elephant seals. The elephant seals can weigh up to two and a half tons each. A whale graveyard can be visited, too. Travel guides on Antarctic tours do not recommend that travelers attempt to take any whale bones found along the beaches due to very high charges that would be incurred on the return flight from Buenos Aires.

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